Last year was a solid one for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority — and the top execs’ pay packages weren’t too shabby, either.

Executives at FINRA earn significantly higher salaries than those at the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The folks at FINRA seem to be living large while constantly professing they need more money,” says Los Angeles attorney Patrick Burns. “SEC staff and executives seem to do just fine with the government salaries and benefits they get, so I question why FINRA’s compensation can’t be brought in line with them. If you were to ask industry people who does a better job regulating, I think most knowledgeable people would tell you it’s the SEC.”

FINRA recently said in its annual report that revenues increased 2.5% over 2012. Expenses remained relatively flat year over year, despite major expenditures, including $19.5 million in severance payments and $12.7 million in additional service credits to participants in the Voluntary Retirement Program.

Given the better-than-expected financial performance, FINRA says its board approved a one-time discretionary rebate of $20 million, which was distributed to active member firms at the end of last year. All firms in good standing received a $1,200 rebate to offset their minimum gross income assessment fee.

As for those pay packages, read on to see what eight of the top execs at FINRA brought in last year. Total compensation includes base pay, incentive pay, deferred compensation and other benefits. Robert Colby

8. Linda Fienberg, President, Dispute Resolution

Total compensation in 2013: $921,032
Total compensation in 2012: $958,973
Year-to-year change: -3.9%

7. Robert Colby, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

Total compensation in 2013: $948,420
Total compensation in 2012: $297,058
Year-to-year change: +219%

Steven Joachim

6. Steven Joachim, EVP, Transparency Services

Total compensation in 2013: $955,506
Total compensation in 2012: $2,461,054
Year-to-year change: -61%

5. Thomas Gira, EVP, Market Regulation

Total compensation in 2013: $961,898
Total compensation in 2012: $968,180
Year-to-year change: -0.6%

J. Bradley Bennett

4. Susan Axelrod, EVP, Regulatory Operations

Total compensation in 2013: $1,013,193
Total compensation in 2012: $863,716
Year-to-year change: +17%

3. J. Bradley Bennett, EVP, Enforcement

Total compensation in 2013: $1,064,225
Total compensation in 2012: $997,705
Year-to-year change: +6.6%

FINRA CEO Richard Ketchum, left, with FSI CEO Dale Brown.

2. Todd Diganci, EVP and Chief Financial Officer

Total compensation in 2013: $1,242,388
Total compensation in 2012: $1,246,523
Year-to-year change: -0.3% 

1. Richard Ketchum, Chairman and CEO

Total compensation in 2013: $2,623,756
Total compensation in 2012: $2,629,705
Year-to-year change: -0.2%

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